Amid protests from a section of villagers residing in the proposed Deocha Pachami coal block area, the West Bengal government on Monday revised the compensation package for those losing their land for the ₹35,000–crore project.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reiterated that there will be no forcible land acquisition but emphasised the importance of the project for the State pointing out that it will generate employment to one lakh people. She said the decision on the revised compensation policy was taken in the Cabinet meeting on Monday.
As per the revised relief & rehabilitation (R&R) package, a person having land in the area will get double its market value along with 100% solatium as land cost ( i.e. around ₹13 lakhs per bigha).
“Built-up area of the individual houses to be provided to all families [along with separate houses for all adult members of the family] has been increased from 600 sq. ft. to 700 sq. ft. Compensation in lieu of built up houses [for those who will opt for money] increased from ₹5 lakh per family to ₹7 lakh ,” a note shared by the State government said.
While the original R& R package provided for one job for one member of every family as junior police constable, the revised package offered those with higher qualifications a higher grade posting in police or an equivalent posting in other departments — 5,100 persons will get jobs.
Along with the legal land owners, long–term inhabitants will be provided with land patta and compensation package, the Chief Minister said. The State government said the investment in the R&R package is around ₹10,000 crore.
“The government will develop this project and no land will be given to the private players. There are some mine owners who are trying to spread misinformation among people,” she said.
There are 12 villages in the area with around 4,314 households with a population of over 21,000. The block has a reserve of around 1,198 million tonnes of coal and 1,400 million cubic meter basalt. Spread over 12.31 sq. km., it is considered to be the largest block in the country.
The State government is emphasising that the first phase of the project will be on land owned by it. The Trinamool Congress in its third term is desperately trying to shrug off anti-industry image and trying to set up industries. The ghosts of organising protest against forcible land acquisition at Singur and Nandigram, however, continue to haunt the Trinamool Congress government.